Google Apps Missing Features


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The Google Apps I use in my firm—Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts—have some great features. They also have some crippling omissions that frustrate me on a daily basis.

No integrated search

Google is a search company, so why is search so limited within Google Apps? In good old, antiquated Outlook, I can find e-mails, contacts, appointments, and tasks with one search (for, say “Joe Smith”). In Google Apps, I have to visit four different sites and run four different searches to do the same thing.

The lack of integration—both search and in general—between Google Apps is one of the biggest reasons I am considering a move to Exchange or Zimbra.

No shared contacts

Every business needs to be able to maintain shared contacts lists. Google Apps can’t. I realize they have an API (application programming interface) that programmers can use to do this, but nothing for the “normal” user—i.e., Google’s best customers. There are other workarounds, like regularly exporting everyone’s contacts and importing everyone else’s exported files, but those are ridiculously inconvenient. This is not a lack of integration between Google Apps, it is a lack of integration between Google users.

I want the ability to share contacts easily with everyone in my Apps domain. But I do not want to share every contact, just the contacts or contact groups I designate.

I also would like to be able to sync my contacts between my firm’s Google Apps account and my regular Google Account. Without that ability, things like Google Voice have severely limited utility.

No shared e-mail

Working effectively with assistants usually means giving them (at least partial) access to your e-mail. With Gmail, there is no good way to do this. Sure, you can give your assistant your username and password, but setting aside the security problem this presents, it is a royal pain in the ass.

I want to be able to share a folder/label, including my inbox, with anyone in my domain with just a couple of clicks.

Most of Google’s applications are no longer in beta, but many still feel like it. If this is the finished product, I would sure like to know, because if so, I need to find something else, free or not.


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  • Sam,

    Integrated Search is a great idea! It is surprising that this is not baked into Google Apps already.

    The domain Shared Contacts interface is a missing feature. A few 3rd parties are getting ready to address this issue with Google Apps Engine apps company being one of them. Drop me a line on my site if you want to sign up for the beta, due to begin on the 1st of the year.

    There is shared email now…it is called Email Delegation. More here:

  • From the descriptions, I can’t tell if that is what I had in mind, or not.

  • I can’t tell if that means I just wind up with all that person’s e-mails in my inbox, just like if I added their account, or something else.

    Another reason I may end up switching to something else is that I cannot get Google to let me claim, a domain I own. All my attempts to change CNAME records and contact customer service have come to nothing.

  • Finally got ahold of and upgraded to Google Apps Premium. I decided I like Google Apps far too much to switch to Zimbra.

    E-mail delegation works very well. I am very happy with it.

    The lack of contact sharing continues to frustrate me, as does Google’s malfunctioning support pages. Most of the links are broken, and the page to submit a support request does not work in any browser I have tried (Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Opera). I thought I was buying some support with my $50/account. Apparently not.